You know when you learn a whole new way of looking at something and it totally clicks?

I was listening to a podcast called Happy Ever After, hosted by author and Law of Attraction Coach, Cassie Parks, and in episode #2 she said something that went off like bells in my head. She described how when it comes to money, she doesn’t use the word “spend,” she always uses the word “invest.” She explained that when you invest, you expect a return—which makes you look at spending money in a different way.

“What’s the return on my investment?”

How does this relate to my work in helping women change their relationship with food?

By using the word “invest” any time you purchase food, it makes you think about the return you’ll be getting on that investment—which may change what you decide to put in your cart, and ultimately, what you end up putting in your body.

When you choose high-nutrient foods (protein, vegetables, fruit, etc.), you are investing in your good health. The energy it provides you to run your body, and perhaps even help you release some extra weight, is a return on your investment.

When you are about choose low-nutrient foods (cookies, French fries, ice cream, etc.), you may want to “forecast” your return on investment for that choice before you make it. If you really and truly enjoy consuming that particular food (guilt-free), then maybe the return on investment is worth it to you. If you know from past experience that eating it will leave you feeling physically sick and overstuffed, or it will cause you to gain weight, or you know you’re going to verbally beat yourself up afterward, then you might decide that this type of return on investment is not what you want after all.

As you buy your groceries or as you order in a restaurant, I invite you to think of the money you are about to part with as making an investment in yourself. Which choices are going to give you more of what you want long-term?

Even if there’s no exchange of money, I still invite you to consider your potential “return” prior to making your food choices. Are you about to help yourself to the candy bowl at the office? Unless you are able to slow down and enjoy every single bite, what is the real return you’re about to receive? Feeling guilt and shame for eating it? Feeling physically gross? Potentially stalling your progress on your road to better health?

Each time you make a food choice, stop and ask yourself, “If I choose this, what is the return, and do I want that for myself?” Try this for a week and see if it changes the way you invest in yourself and your health. Who knows? You might even save some money in the process by passing on food you’d rather not invest in. How cool would that be?